Skip to content
On the way to a casino?  There are new guidelines to help you minimize your gambling risks

TORONTO – The Canadian Center on Substance Abuse (CCSA) has released new guidelines to help Canadians reduce the harm from gambling.

The guidelines were developed after five years of research into how those who gamble can reduce risk, as well as understand when their gambling starts to get riskier.

CCSA recommends that Canadians gamble no more than one percent of their before-tax household income, gamble no more than four days per month, and continue to regularly play two or fewer types of games.

It is essential to follow the three guidelines in order to play with low risk, the agency said.

“Gambling is a legal activity that can pose risks to some people in Canada, including financial hardship, relationship conflicts, emotional or psychological distress, and health issues,” Matthew Young, co-chair of the Science Working Group on Gambling. low risk gambling guidelines, explained in a statement.

“These guidelines will help Canadians who gamble to do so in a way that will reduce their risk of encountering these issues.”

The guidelines seem simple, but there is a lot behind them.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 60,000 people who gamble in eight different countries and looked at comments from more than 10,000 Canadians who responded to an online gambling survey.

They also interviewed people across Canada, spoke in focus groups of people who gamble, and consulted with experts in harm reduction, treatment, and issues that can arise from gambling.

The three guidelines are the result of the first large-scale global project to develop guidelines on low-risk gambling.

“Our best advice so far for people who gamble has been to set personal expenses and time limits,” David Hodgins, professor of psychology at the University of Calgary and co-chair of the task force, said in the statement. . “We can now provide more precise guidance on what those boundaries should be, based on the experiences of tens of thousands of individuals. ”

Gambling can lead not only to financial damage, but also to relationship conflict, emotional and psychological distress, and health problems, such as exacerbation of substance abuse problems.

About one to three percent of Canadians have a gambling disorder, but the effects of gambling can extend to anyone who gambles, as well as to their families.

During the development of these guidelines, researchers found that the more a person gambled per month, the more likely they were to bet more money than they could afford, with this risk increasing dramatically after one. no one spent a week a month playing.

Survey data showed that 30 percent of those who reported financial damage from gambling gambled 24 days per month. Fifteen percent of those who gambled seven days a month said they bet more than they could afford.

A graphic in the report developing the development of these guidelines provided more detail on the three points.

The graph shows that playing only one percent of your household income before tax means that those earning $ 10,000 per year should only play $ 8 per month, while those earning $ 150,000 should not play more than 125 $ per month.

The types of games that a person participates in include things like horse racing, card games, slots, sports scores, scratch tickets, and online poker among others.

Along with these guidelines, the researchers offered other advice.

They said there is a strong association between substance use disorders and problem gambling, and that limiting substance use while gambling may help reduce it.

If a person has a special event or an upcoming trip that they will be playing, it helps to set limits in advance. Limiting access to money by leaving credit cards at home on certain trips or downloading apps that prevent your phone from making payments can help.

CCSA recommends making plans right after gaming sessions, to prevent a session from lasting longer than originally planned, and considering whether playing alone or with others changes your behavior.

Thinking about how much money can be allocated to “entertainment” can also help.

More information on the guidelines and other advice can be found on the new website,, where Canadians can find more resources, as well as a risk assessment tool, which should be launched later. late in the fall.

The report adds that while these guidelines should limit risk for most people, they may not work for everyone.

“You should consider playing less than what these guidelines recommend or not at all if you are having problems with alcohol, cannabis or other drug use, if you are having problems with anxiety or depression,” [or] have a personal or family history of gambling problems, ”the report says.

“Think about your reasons for playing. Is it for fun? If you gamble to escape problems, you are more likely to experience gambling harms and you may find it more difficult to stay within the suggested limits.


ctvnews Canada news